Last Tuesday ended up being a bit of a disaster. There was a burst water main at Burgess Hill Football Club and we had no water from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. It’s funny how much difference it makes not to have any water – there’s supposed to be low water pressure this week connected with the new houses being built at Hassocks Golf Club but that’s manageable – low pressure is a matter of being patient. No water at all is more of a problem though. We had some water in a filter so we could make a couple of cups of tea and there were some bottles of soda water in the fridge so we weren’t going to die of thirst but there was no water to flush the toilet, no water to wash up dirty dishes and no water for a thirsty dog. Before I went to Peter’s to discuss Blonde On Blonde in the afternoon, the South East Water website said things would be fixed by 2:00 p.m. After discussing “Visions Of Johanna” and “Fourth Time Around” I left his house to come home but I checked the website again which now gave an estimated completion time of 6:00 p.m. They were handing out bottles of water at Burgess Hill Rugby Club. I set the sat nav and headed off to get some water for us and our elderly next door neighbour. The Rugby Club is at the end of a labyrinthine set of back roads in a residential area with about a million parked cars. With another million cars trying to access these roads, I was reminded of the end of “This Year” by The Mountain Goats: “The scene ends badly as you might imagine in a cavalcade of anger and fear.” I eventually negotiated my way through, only to be told that they had run out of bottles. Track four on “Bang!” is “Give It All Away” which is exactly what they had done; but not to me.
Luckily, Peter, being the splendid fellow that he is had loaned us a huge container with tap water in it. I wasn’t absolutely convinced that it was completely bug free but we were able to filter some of the water to make some teas and coffees in the evening, waiting for the updates on the South East Water site which now said 8:00 p.m. We also checked on our neighbour who said she had enough bottles of water in her fridge.
To make things worse later on, I noticed that Bruno had wee’d on the floor. He had done this last year when he had a kidney infection but neither Roo nor I had noticed him doing this today and he certainly hadn’t sat by the door, looking at us cutely and begging us to let him out – like he normally does about ten times every evening. I cleared up the wee, scrubbed the floor with disinfectant and went back to watching “All Creatures Great And Small” on TV. (I know – but it’s reassuringly banal). An hour later, I noticed that there was more wee on the floor. After careful inspection, we realised that it wasn’t wee after all but just water which seemed to be leaking down through the pillar in the middle of the room. We apologised to Bruno for our false accusations which he accepted with his normal good grace and a shrug of his shoulders, having accepted a treat as if it was his due. There didn’t seem to be any water on the outside of the pillar. I went upstairs to see if I’d left a tap running but there was nothing obviously wrong. Looking more carefully at this water it led back from the puddle in the middle of the floor, past the pillar, behind the sofa and back to Peter’s water container which was standing by the back door. Stupidly, I hadn’t checked it before bringing it into the house and if I had, I would have seen that the tap at the bottom needed screwing in to the main container. There wasn’t much leaking out, just a tiny dribble but over the course of a couple of hours it added up. I cleared up the water, checked the South east Water website again and found that they were now estimating 10:00 p.m. for the water to be back on.
As Roo and I went back to our chairs to watch the exciting climax of James Herriot’s life as a vet in Yorkshire, Roo tripped up, fell over, tried in vain to cushion her fall and, Bang!, smacked her head on the floor. She cut her head and there was a small amount of blood. It took about twenty minutes to help her up whilst holding a bandage to her head. She insisted she was okay and as far as she is concerned, there has been no lasting damage done. She told me that she didn’t need to go to A&E and I never argue with my wife. It wasn’t the best day and the noise as she hit her head on the floor was deeply upsetting. I guess the pain she felt as her head hit the floor was probably more upsetting. Let’s get things in perspective.
Karl Wallinger played keyboards in The Waterboys but left after their third album (“This Is The Sea”) was released in order to release his own material which did not quite fit in with The Waterboys sound. He said “It was just sort of frustrating. On the one hand, I was enjoying doing this stuff with Mike Scott. On the other hand, I knew I had some songs that should get out. At first, I thought of my solo work as running alongside the Waterboys’. But that was impractical; it turns out to be a full-time job.” The first two World Party albums were, more or less, solo projects but “Bang!” is a group effort with Dave Catlin-Birch on guitars, and Chris Sharrock on drums. The former of these was the original “Paul” in The Bootleg Beatles and the latter had been in The Icicle Works and is currently in Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. One song is co-written with Guy Chambers who had worked on the first two World Party albums and went on to work extensively with Robbie Williams.
The lyrical component of “Bang!” is generally sombre. Karl Wallinger said “There’s a point where you question things so much, it leads to auto-destruct. That’s what the album’s about: bang!—like an earthquake in your head.”
To be honest, I’ve never listened to the words of this great album. Musically, it is a panoply of different musical styles. Prince, The Beach Boys, The Beatles are all well represented but in a highly original way. Sunshine pop, harmonies, great melodies and excellent playing all combine to make a very entertaining and memorable album. For example, “Sunshine” is a lovely song.
“Is It Like Today” sounds like a combination of The Beatles and The Cure with a lovely melody, wonderful harmonies and a guitar drenched sound.
The opening song “Kingdom Come” has one of those insistent beats that drives the song forward and remains my favourite song on the album. Karl Wallinger’s piano which added so much to “A Pagan Place” and “Savage Earth Heart” (from the first two Waterboys albums) can be clearly heard amongst the multiplicity of instruments that build to the climax at the end of the song. It’s a wonderful pop sound.
The Waterboys had a great song called “And A Bang On The Ear” but Roo’s whole head went crashing down fast for a resounding Bang! She was fine the next day and has been okay since.